New This Month


China Paperweight

Lids that outlive their matching vessels are the lonely hearts of the flea market. Too pretty to discard but obviously deprived of a function, they beg for a second chance.

Photography: Sang An

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2000


As luck would have it, lids of many shapes, sizes, and origins -- from the crown of a porcelain tureen to the dome of an ironstone sugar bowl -- find a new sense of purpose when you turn them into paperweights. Easily weighted with plaster of paris and neatly finished with colored felt bases, they make endearing gifts for anyone whose desk needs a touch of romance.



  • China lid

  • Plaster of paris

  • Water Palette knife

  • Plastic cup, for drying

  • Sandpaper (fine-grit)

  • Felt

  • Pencil

  • Scissors

  • Fabric glue


  1. 1. After choosing a lid with an attractive design, carefully wash and dry it.

  2. 2. Plaster of paris dries quickly, so do not mix it until you've assembled all materials. Add water to plaster, and mix according to package directions. Turn over lid, and use an artist's palette knife to fill the hollow with plaster.

  3. 3. Level off plaster with the spatula so that none protrudes beyond the lip of the lid. Set the lid upside down on a tumbler to dry. Plaster takes about an hour to dry completely. After the plaster has dried, smooth with fine-grit sandpaper until the surface is completely flat; smooth any rough edges around the lid's inner lip.

  4. 4. Place lid right side up on a piece of felt, and with a pencil, trace the outline of the lid's lip onto the felt. Cut felt along this line, and affix felt to plaster with fabric glue. Allow to dry according to instructions on glue. If necessary, trim felt from lid.

  5. 5. To give a lid paperweight as a gift, tie a decorative bow around its knob, or strap it to an appropriate boxed gift (such as stationery, a blotter, or writing implements) with a ribbon threaded through its handle.

Reviews Add a comment